COVID-19 and North Shore Electorate

Published on: October 2021

Record: HANSARD-1323879322-119249

COVID-19 and North Shore Electorate

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (16:47:03):

When we think back over the last 18 months to what we thought 2020 and 2021 would be, it is amazing how quickly we have adjusted. We would never have thought that we would spend months not seeing our families or friends, our businesses would close, we would have reduced numbers in Parliament and we would wear masks everywhere we go. We would never have foreseen that at the beginning of 2020, yet it has become our lot. We have lived with it and we have adjusted. Hopefully now we are coming out into a better place where we can get back to seeing our friends and family, our businesses can begin to thrive again and we can all go on to living more normal lives, safer, healthier and happier.

During that time we had such disrupted lives. Our typical day-to-day lives were heavily impacted across the State, the country and the globe. When we were faced with COVID-19 we had to make a choice to keep our family and friends safe, and not only those closest to us but particularly those who work in our frontline industries. We focused particularly heavily last year on this notion of staying at home so our frontline healthcare workers could save lives, doing the best that we could as a community to keep them safe and ensure they could do the job with the resources that they had. There were our doctors, nurses, paramedics and the broader front line: our emergency services and police. Then there were all the essential workers who were so necessary to us, such as the people doing deliveries and those making sure we had food from the supermarkets—and toilet paper, of course. We will never forget the rush on toilet paper. It was such a transition for all of us as a community. I look back on it and think that the worst of times has really brought out the best in us.

I reflected on my own community's contribution activities during this time. I feel fortunate to live in New South Wales. Over that time we were blessed to have had the steady hand of our former Premier Gladys Berejiklian. We can now look forward together with extreme optimism as we begin reopening the State under the leadership of Premier Dominic Perrottet. In times of crisis you see the true character of our local communities shining through. I will mention just a few of the outstanding locals and the community spirit in my electorate of North Shore. They have raised money, donated, and assisted those in need not only in our local community but in communities across the State.

Neutral Bay resident and full-time criminal lawyer Jane Meredith helped collect more than ten tonnes of food and household basics for the Addison Road Food Pantry. It is a food pantry in the inner west that delivers to people across the State. Jane managed to mobilise a large group of volunteers who share the same passion and interests in helping people currently facing difficult times. She has had a lot of local businesses involved, including Cremorne Plaza, Bridgepoint, Chargrill Charlie's, the deli at Kirribilli, Simple Simons Coffee and Gelato House. They are people and businesses that were also impacted but wanted to give what they had to help other people who were impacted even more than themselves.

I also acknowledge our local healthcare staff. We are very fortunate to have the incredible hospital at Royal North Shore. The staff there, our local GPs and pharmacists all joined together in the fight against COVID‑19. Particularly they did so in vaccinating our community but also with building the dedicated COVID ward fairly early on to make sure we had the resources not just for locals but the entire healthcare network to take care of people at Royal North Shore Hospital. I thank them all. I also thank local Mosman resident Jill Waller, who raised thousands of dollars to support our local COVID-19 frontline staff. Jill set up a GoFundMe campaign to provide a particular brand of face masks that are easier on the skin and more comfortable to wear and donated those to our Royal North Shore Hospital staff. Many members in this place know that personal protective equipment was having a real impact on healthcare workers, our nurses and doctors, locally and around the globe.

Mosman local Susie Agoston was incredibly busy during the height of the outbreak, gathering essential items for communities in need. She collected face masks and hand sanitiser for people in rural and remote communities who faced a long drive over significant distances to procure these crucial supplies. Many of these communities, particularly in western New South Wales, also have high numbers of Indigenous peoples who have been more susceptible to COVID-19. I thank Susie and all those in my local community who helped with those donations. These are just some of the extraordinary efforts from members of my own community. I acknowledge people who have donated or assisted people during this time.

I acknowledge the hard work of Mosman Chamber of Commerce and its president, Tamara Keniry. She has been a voice constantly advocating locally for our businesses. I thank her for joining me in a number of local business forums so that we could hear their concerns and support them. I opened this week visiting some of my local businesses. I thank Gina and Colin from Dymocks Neutral Bay, Haylee and the team at Miller and Green at McMahons Point, and Troy Anthony from Cafe Mosman, who all welcomed me back. The whole community is excited to welcome you back. We are optimistic for New South Wales, we are optimistic for our future and we are grateful we have you all.

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